Why did Steinbeck end Of Mice and Men the way he did?

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In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses this particular diction to make the lives of the ranch hands feel real to the reader. Their words also help characterize them. Finally, Steinbeck employs a literary narrative voice to frame the story in a way that is comfortable to most readers.

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The ending is very powerful and poignant. George steels himself to commit what he believes is the ultimate act of compassion to his friend - terminating his life. It is also the death of their beautiful dream of freedom and independence, and thus Steinbeck delivers up sobering ideas on two themes which run strongly through the novel - friendship and dreams.

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I have the feeling that "Of Mice and Men" is a fragment of a bigger novel that Steinbeck intended to write but gave up on for some reason. It seemed to promise being a story about the lives of itinerant agricultural workers. One of the things that seems lacking is detailed descriptions of the hard labor of the men and the horses in the fields. There are plenty of horses, but they do nothing but nibble hay, stamp their feet, and jingle their harnesses. The men spend most of their time indoors, either playing cards or talking. Even when they pitch horseshoes outside, we only hear the thuds and clangs.

Whenever a story ends with somebody getting shot, I always suspect that the author had run out of inspiration and just wanted to get rid of the thing so he could go on to something else. It seems significant, but it really isn't: it is just an "effect." It is melodramatic. Perhaps Steinbeck realized that he had bitten off more than he could chew--as frequently happens to creative writers. Perhaps he had to face the fact that he just didn't know enough about the subject to describe it realistically--especially to describe scenes in which gangs of men with teams of horses are working out in the flat California fields. Steinbeck does a beautiful job of describing a little campsite by a river with the mountains in the background. He does an effective job of describing a bunkhouse. Some of his characters seem real--but he could have met them in bar rooms. He didn't have much of a plot to work with. That was another one of his problems. When he wrote The Grapes of Wratha few years later, it was a full-fledged epic, and it had its own natural movement of dispossessed people moving from east to west. Of Mice and Men, by contrast, seems claustrophobic.

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I think the question we may be left with at the end of the novel is: Where can we find innocence in this world driven by corrupted cravings?

Lennie was "innocent" if we look only at his intentions. He never meant to hurt anyone. Yet he killed a woman just as he killed small animals - according to his nature. Lennie is not innocent if we consider these actions. Because he craved soft things, he became a killer. 

The result of Lennie's lack of control is George's decision to take Lennie's life. To protect Lennie from punishment and to protect other people from Lennie's craven (if unintentionial) harm. 

 

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The ending of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is in accord with the characteristic naturalism of Steinbeck's novella. Like the poem of Robert Burns from which the title of the work comes, it is an uncaring universe that allows circumstances to occur. No matter their plans, like the little mouse who has built its winter nest, death comes without invitation to Lennie and George.  As Steinbeck himself has written, Lennie represents represents not insanity, "but the inarticulate and powerful yearning of all men," a yearning that is up against the forces of society and an indifferent universe. The American Dream dies in the Great Depression; Lennie as the keeper of the dream dies in Of Mice and Men.

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John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men ends with the death of Lennie at the hands of his best friend, George. Steinbeck has been preparing us for a tragic end since the beginning of the novel. Lennie's trouble in Weed, his petting of the dead mouse, and his killing of the puppy have foreshadowed his killing of Curley's wife.

George's killing of Lennie has been anticipated by Carlson's using the Luger to kill Candy's old dog. Steinbeck, however, has George kill Lennie rather than allowing someone else to kill Lennie, which probably would have happened if the mob of men from the barley farm would have caught him.

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Why did John Steinbeck write Of Mice and Men?

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, and grew up in a relatively affluent family. Growing up, Steinbeck spent his childhood watching the migrant workers in the region and even spent time as a young man working on farms throughout the valley. In college, Steinbeck worked on the Spreckels Sugar Ranch, where he interacted with many workers and heard their difficult life stories. The lifestyle of the migrant workers left an impression on Steinbeck, who was motivated to document their difficult experiences in a novella. Steinbeck was also developing his political and social views regarding the agricultural industry, which he further elaborated on in his famous novel The Grapes of Wrath. Overall, Steinbeck drew inspiration from his childhood in the Salinas Valley and his interactions with migrant workers on local ranches in the region to write a novella about the transient, difficult lifestyles of migrant workers. The characters and setting of the novella Of Mice and Men were directly inspired by Steinbeck's personal experiences and present a vivid portrayal of life as a migrant worker on a ranch in the Salinas Valley.

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Why did John Steinbeck write Of Mice and Men?

Although we cannot be completely certain of why John Steinbeck wrote the novella, there are a few important clues. 

First, he was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. This setting is the same setting as many of his novels, including Of Mice and Men. Moreover, he spent time working on farms when he was young. Certainly during these times, he saw the life of migrant workers. He also certainly became friends with them. In other words, their lives impacted his life. From this perspective, he had plenty of interaction and inspiration to write. 

Second, Steinbeck was also conspicuously political. Therefore, it is clear that he was making a political point through Of Mice and Men about the hardships of the lives of the migrant workers. In Grapes of Wrath he does even more. In light of this, he probably wanted to share the story of these men to let others know what was taking place. 

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Why did John Steinbeck write Of Mice and Men?

John Steinbeck had experienced the kind of life he dramatizes in Of Mice and Men. He was concerned about the injustice and exploitation suffered by the itinerant agricultural workers he describes in his novella. He wrote the story because he hoped it would make Americans conscious of a situation they hardly knew existed. If public opinion could be sufficiently influenced, it should lead to the enactment of legislation that would give these oppressed working men some protection. At the same time, Steinbeck had an opportunity to write a play on the same subject which would be produced in New York. That intrigued him because New York was the cultural and intellectual capital of America, whereas California in his day was a fairly insignificant Western state.

The play was produced in New York in 1937, the same year the book was published. The fact that Steinbeck was writing what he called "a playable novel" explains why most of the exposition is presented in the novella in the form of dialogue and also explains why the book is so short. Steinbeck obviously was thinking of how the story would "play" on a stage while he was writing the novella. He had to use indoor settings, because it would have been impossible in a stage play to show men and horses working in the California fields. However, when the story was adapted to two Hollywood feature films, the screenwriters automatically "opened up" the play by inserting big, panoramic outdoor scenes. The novella is not exactly a "script" for a play; it is more like a "treatment." It was written in such a way that it could be quickly and easily turned into a conventional stage-play script. Time was of the essence.

What made Steinbeck a great writer was his humanity, his feeling for other people, and especially for the underprivileged. Most of his works, including his masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, show that same powerful compassion.

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Why did Steinbeck decided to name his book Of Mice and Men?

The title of John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” comes from a Robert Burns poem entitled “To A Mouse”.  The poem’s speaker is talking to a mouse, basically explaining to him why he is afraid of the speaker and why he is so small and weak – this could definitely relate to the character of Lennie or could represent George talking to Lennie as the speaker talks to the mouse.  The actual title comes from Burns’ stanza which states,

“But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

This stanza directly relates to the situation that the two men are in throughout the novel.

They have a plan to buy their own farm and “live off the fatta the land.”  And even though they dream of this every day of their lives and make attempts to make this dream come true, the events that take place which are out of their hands do not allow this dream to happen – therefore, bringing true the last four lines of this stanza.

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In Of Mice and Men, why did Steinbeck choose this particular diction?

Steinbeck uses the local dialect of the California ranch hands to make his novella seem more real and immediate to readers. By not paraphrasing and reporting back to us what the ranch hands have said, but instead using their own words, he transports us more fully into their lives. This helps us feel closer to them.

For example, the following dialogue between Slim and George helps convince us that Steinbeck really knows the lives of the characters he writes about, because he can speak their language:

"I gotta pair of punks on my team that don't know a barley bag from a blue ball. You guys ever bucked any barley?"

"Hell, yes," said George. "I ain't nothing to scream about, but that big bastard there can put up more grain alone than most pairs can."

Most of us probably don't know what a "blue ball" refers to, but it doesn't matter—we can pick up the gist of what Slim is saying about the incompetence of the "punks" on his team while at the same time feeling that we are actually eavesdropping on a real conversation.

It is also important to note that even while different characters speak in roughly the same dialect, Steinbeck also uses their words to help characterize them. Slim is a thoughtful, perceptive, and sensitive person, and that is reflected in his diction. For example, he uses poetic alliteration in the repeated "b" sounds when he says:

a barley bag from a blue ball. You guys ever bucked any barley?

There is a gentle, poetic rhythm to his speech.

In contrast, George's language is cruder and blunter, relying on curse words for emphasis. This, too, is consistent with his character.

In addition to the dialect, Steinbeck uses a narrative voice that is literary and polished to further connect with the reader.

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In Of Mice and Men, why did Steinbeck choose this particular diction?

Steinbeck's choice of words in Of Mice and Men can be divided into the dialogue he gives to his characters and the author's own description and exposition. The dialogue is appropriate for working men who have little education and live in a harsh environment. George and Lennie, for instance, speak ungrammatically, using simple, straightforward diction. George uses profanities frequently, as do many of the other men. Here, the author's word choice adds to the realism of the story. He imitates as closely as possible the way in which such men would actually express themselves.

The descriptive passages are also written in simple English, though they are always grammatical and can even be lyrical in a carefully controlled way. This lyrical quality is achieved not by highly-wrought figurative language, but by the detail with which the physical environment is described. In the first paragraph, for instance, Steinbeck describes the depth and texture of the fallen leaves by remarking that "a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them." Such images give the reader a very precise picture of the landscape, which is a central feature of the book. Of Mice and Men is often performed as a play, and the precision of the author's descriptions allows them to function well as stage directions. This means that even when the book is read rather than performed, the reader is able to imagine the details of the setting and the movements of the characters with unusual clarity.

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Why did John Steinbeck title his book Of Mice and Men?

John Steinbeck often used literary allusions in the titles of his novels. In his novella Of Mice and Men, he refers to the 18th century Robert Burns poem "To a Mouse." The poem is about a farmer plowing his field when he eventually disrupts the nest of a mouse. Steinbeck focuses on the lines in the next to last stanza of Burns's poem. The poem, like much of Burns's work, was written in the Scottish dialect and is often paraphrased for better comprehension. In the original, Burns writes,

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men

Gang aft agley

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 

For promis'd joy!

Roughly, this stanza could be paraphrased:

But Mouse, you're not alone

In proving that looking ahead may be useless

The best laid plans of mice and men

Often go astray

And leave us nothing but grief and pain

Instead of happiness

The sentiment expressed in these lines seems a perfect summation of the problems which face the characters in the book. George, Lennie and Candy are forever thinking of the day when their plan to buy their own farm will come true and provide them with joy and happiness. Instead, because of Lennie's accidental killing of Curley's wife, the plans go astray and are never realized. In the end, George is left with grief over the loss of his friend and pain over the shattering of the dream. Candy too feels this grief as, at the end of chapter five, he laments that he will never go to the farm and "hoe in the garden," no matter how well intentioned his plans had been. 

 

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Why did John Steinbeck title his book Of Mice and Men?

The origin of the title Of Mice and Men comes from a poem by Robert Burns titled "To a Mouse," which is sometimes known by its longer title "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, September, 1785." The lines from which Steinbeck borrowed the phrase for his title can be found in the penultimate stanza of the poem; here are the lines of that stanza in modern English:

But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Steinbeck's choice alludes to George's best intentions to look after Lennie and to live together on a farm of their own, where Lennie will be safe and George can be self-sufficient. Though George has done his best to protect Lennie from himself and to help him out of difficult situations, his foresight and quick thinking only take them so far; like the mouse in the poem and like Burns himself, who did the accidental turning up of the mouse's nest while plowing, George learns the hard way that planning ahead does not always guarantee a positive outcome. The mouse, Burns, and George all experience grief and pain as a reward for their "best laid schemes," like many individuals who do their best to plan for the future only to be thwarted by unforeseen circumstances out of their control.

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Why did John Steinbeck title his book Of Mice and Men?

The title of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men foreshadows the tragic events of the novel. Steinbeck derived the title from the poem “To a Mouse” by Scottish poet Robert Burns. In the poem, a mouse carefully builds itself a nest in a field so that it will be protected from the frigid winter when it comes. Unfortunately, a farmer plows through the field, wrecking the nest and leaving the mouse exposed to the elements. Burns then comments:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men 
          Gang aft agley, 
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, 
          For promis’d joy!

In simple English, Burns is saying that our plans often go very wrong, even when we work hard to make sure they succeed. Understanding this, one can easily see how the title foreshadows the events of the novel. Throughout the story, Lennie and George wish and plan to have a farm of their own. Unfortunately, despite their hard work, their plans are crushed. The title Of Mice and Men truly encapsulates the theme of the story.

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Why did Steinbeck choose the title Of Mice and Men?

The title of "Of Mice and Men" is an allusion taken from a poem by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. The line of the poem from which the title is taken says, "The best laid plan o'mice and men gang oft agley." In plain English, Burns is saying the no matter how well we plan things, often things turn out differently the we planned. This is a reference to the dreams of the farm that Lennie and George share. Just as that dream is about to come true, the dream is shattered by Lennie when he kills Curley's wife. To prevent Lennie from suffering horrible treatment at the hands of the men and Curley, George kills Lennie and their dream dies. The title is a direct allusion to the theme and the ending of the novel.

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Why do you think the author titled the book Of Mice and Men?

The title of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is an allusion to "To a Mouse," a poem written by Robert Burns, who lived during the 18th Century. In this poem about a farmer who turned up a mouse's burrow while ploughing Burns writes, "The best laid schemes of mice and men, / Go oft astray, / And leave us nought but grief and pain, / To rend our day."

There have been many references to this poem in popular culture. The poem's comparison between mice and men is apt for this novel because people like George and Lennie could have their lives turned upside down by the metaphorical plough and receive only passing sympathy.  

Another reason this title is apt is that, in the poem, the mouse believed its winter home would be the best way to survive the cold whether. This plan went "astray." In Of Mice and Men, each character presented in the book has some type of dream he or she feels destined to reach. For George and Lennie, it's owning a ranch where Lennie can take care of the bunnies. Both Crooks and Candy want to join the guys on that ranch. For Curley's wife, it is going to be a  movie star. But for every character, there is a dashed dream. Their "best laid schemes" went "astray." 

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How might one explain the title of Steinbeck's book Of Mice and Men?

The title is a quotation from Thomas Gray’s poem “To a Mouse,” whose theme is that both men and animals (even those as diminutive as a field mouse) may make plans for the future, so that future comfort and happiness can be attained. The problem, however, is that unforeseen circumstances are not included in our plans, because some things are beyond our understanding of the world. In Gray’s poem, the mouse has built a nest to keep him warm and safe, but does not know that the narrator would be plowing that field in the Autumn: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, /For promis’d joy!”

In Steinbeck’s book (and play), the brothers Georg and Lennie are making plans to one day own their own farm, but Lennie’s low mentality and desire to stroke small animals had not figured into their plans, so when Lennie accidentally breaks a woman’s neck, George has to kill his brother to keep him from being killed by a mob. The plans “of Men,” then, can be thwarted just as the mouse’s plans for the winter are thwarted.

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What is the back story as to why Steinbeck gave Of Mice and Men that title?

John Steinbeck's choice of a title is an allusion to a well-known poem by Robert Burns, the full title of which is "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough." The speaker in Robert Burns' touching poem expresses regret for inadvertently destroying a mouse's nest while plowing. In the next to-last stanza he says:

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men
                       Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
                       For promis'd joy!

The title derived from Robert Burns' poem alludes to the dream of George and Lennie to own their own little farm and to be free of the backbreaking toil and wage-slavery in which they are presently trapped. This dream is the back story. It is repeated to Lennie by George in the first chapter. Lennie never gets tired of hearing it. Later in the story it seems that the dream may actually come true because Candy volunteers to contribute $300 to buying a farm George knows can be had for a total of only $600. Then everything goes wrong and Lennie has to flee and hide by the river where they camped in the first chapter. George is planning to shoot his friend to protect him from a worse fate at the hands of a lynch mob; but in the last chapter, at Lennie's request, he tells him part of the dream again.

"We'll have a cow," said George. "An' we'll have maybe a pig an' chickens . . . an' down the flat we'll have a . . . little piece alfalfa------"

But George can't continue with his dream-story. This is only another instance in which the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. The lynch mob is fast approaching. George must pull the trigger of the stolen Luger and kill the only friend he ever had.

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